Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox


I sometimes get criticised for mentioning names in situations where I should be blowing my own trumpet. I openly admit I have a lot of people to thank for being where I am and I am always happy to acknowledge their influence. Why not? No man is an island. There are a several things needed to be good at something. determination, perspiration, application, even desperation but it has to start somewhere and that is often inspiration. Someone or some thing has inspired you. It was fortunate that initially I happened to be inspired by some bloody good casters, I was even more fortunate that over the years I continue to meet inspirational people. Who knows, I might even have inspired one or two myself. That would be the icing on the cake for me.

A few years ago, when I was determinedly practicing every day to become a really good distance caster, I was watching the Olympics and feeling very emotional when someone won a gold medal. I was suddenly very appreciative of all the sheer bloody effort they had put in over such a long time to get that medal. I am never going to win an Olympic medal but I have been in situations where all the effort suddenly seems very worthwhile, probably the best was when I beat the long-standing BFCC five weight record. It was especially sweet because it had been a specific target for about a year. Those of us that compete know full well that for conditions to be right in your three minute slot on that particular day is just a question of luck. Being able to take advantage of those conditions is not.

There is no substitute for practice provided there is some substance to it and you are not just flailing the rod around and practicing your mistakes over and over. I was certainly guilty of that in my early days. It helps to be around good casters occasionally. My casting improved out of sight once I finally realised this. I was fortunate to be invited to Paul Ardens occasional shootouts and I plucked up the courage to join the BFCC. I asked stupid questions and, sometimes, a sensible one. I had fixed ideas that became unfixed, I had theories that couldn’t be proved.

I fully appreciate that most people who fly fish are not interested in distance for distance sake, they just want to enjoy their sport and be able to cover fish more easily. What really gets my goat are those that deride those of us that have made the effort to learn to use our equipment to its full advantage. Just because we have bothered to learn to cast 120′ doesn’t mean we actually want to fish at that distance. It does mean that if we see a fish or a fishy location that is 75′ away we can actually reach it. It does mean we can put a decent line out against a stiff breeze. It does mean we are fishing and casting well within ourselves.

There are still those out there who still think that we use ‘special’ or tournament rods to achieve what we do, they just cannot accept that we use off the shelf, bog standard fly fishing rods. They refuse to accept that the rod has absolutely nothing to do with a casters ability. I know people who spend an absolute fortune on the latest gear with the absolute certainty that it will make them better casters. There is no denying that some rods are better and nicer to use than others but even the most expensive rod in the world will only cast as far as the ability of the person holding it will allow. Spend half the money you would lay out on a new rod on some casting lessons and finally discover the truth. It’s pointless having a Ferrari that has a Ford Popular engine, I would rather have the Ford Popular with a Ferrari engine.


October 1, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Rest assured, you have inspired people Mike!

    Great post too.

    Comment by Steve Yeomans | October 4, 2011 | Reply

  2. Aw shucks Steve, Thanks.

    Comment by Mike Heritage | October 5, 2011 | Reply

  3. I think you have eyebrows like the wings of a jet plane with a heart like a Ford Anglia engine.

    Comment by Roger | October 6, 2011 | Reply

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